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Fox Takeover of Sky Referred to British Media Regulator

21st Century Fox’s £11.7 billion ($14.3 billion) takeover offer for European pay-TV operator Sky is to be investigated by the British media regulator Ofcom.

Karen Bradley, the British government’s culture secretary, has referred Fox’s bid to acquire the 61% of Sky it does not already own to the regulator to look into two public interest issues. The first is whether the deal will affect media plurality; in other words, would it give the Murdoch family, which controls the Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers, too much influence in the U.K. The second is whether it will adversely affect the editorial quality of the broadcaster’s output.

Separately, Ofcom will look at whether Fox passes the so-called “fit and proper” test for media owners, which is likely to examine the phone-hacking scandal at the Murdoch-owned News of the World newspaper.

Fox said in a statement: “We are confident that a thorough review of our track record over 30 years will underscore our commitment to upholding high broadcast standards, and will demonstrate that the transaction will not result in there being insufficient plurality in the U.K.”

It added: “The media market has changed dramatically in recent years, as has our business. We believe our proposed £11.7 billion investment will benefit the U.K.’s creative industries.”

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